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Stand up for girls sports

Story: Annisa Whims, Copy Editor

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Women can’t play sports. They are fragile. We couldn’t possibly let them sweat, it’s unlady like.
Statements like these from men limited the opportunities for women who could, indeed play sports. For decades, regulations and rules were set in place by men, not the women participating, to keep social rules in place. Women were not allowed to run the full length of the floor in basketball. It took almost 50 years for women’s basketball to gain the same equality as men in the rules alone. Then there was the inequality off the court in the locker rooms, opportunities to play, equipment and overall enjoyment of women competing.
Although I would agree we have come a long way, women in sports are still downgraded as second to men.
The fans are standing in respect and enthusiasm from the moment the boys run out of the locker room. As a woman who plays basketball, observing the fans standing for the boys game but not for the girls is a disheartening experience.
I am part of a program that has been more successful than the boys in recent years with more wins and a journey all the way to the state championship game at the Breslin Center. To still be thought of as less impressive feels like a spit in the face. To achieve the goals to take us so far and to still have our success unacknowledged feels like a step backward.
We have have won more games than them and for what? To have another person say, “The guys are more exciting because they are more athletic.”
I’m sorry, but athleticism is irrelevant if you can’t execute to win games.
Inequality in women’s sports follows all the way up through collegiate and professional levels. The locker rooms for men are more luxurious with more amenities to accommodate their players needs. If you have ever toured the basketball locker rooms at Michigan State University you would know what I mean. The men have a much larger locker room with a beautiful plaque showcasing their superiority. The women have a simple oval room with a nice bathroom.
I have personally shared a tiled cramped locker room with all the freshman, JV and varsity players. Meanwhile, the varsity boys had a carpeted locker room all to themselves with personal lockers and plaques on the wall.
An article on www.sports.vice.com reports Diana Taurasi, the highest paid WNBA star, received the maximum salary of $107,500 a year. Compare that to Delaware 87ers Dionte Christmas who only played 198 minutes but earned the minimum salary of an NBA player at $490,180 annually.
This stinks.
Physical education teacher, longtime coach and Greater Lansing Area Sports Hall of Fame member Patty Terres has seen the inequalities.
“I noticed inequality on the playing field more as I became a coach,” she said. “My players would be affected and it was maddening.”

But Terres chose to have a positive outlook empowering her players. “We can’t control what’s going around us, but what we can control is how we compete when we come to practice,” she said. “Let’s just keep winning. Let’s just keep working hard. Let’s just do what we do and let our actions do all the talking.”
This is not a plea for equality just because I’m am a woman and both sexs should be equal. No. Female athletes deserve respect equal to men because we have earned it through hard work and dedication to succeed beyond the standards set for us.
Instead of taking a step backwards to sit down, I encourage the Haslett community to take a step forward. Get off your butts and pay equal respect to women’s athletics.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Stand up for girls sports”

  1. Sue Maloney on December 16th, 2016 1:00 pm

    Well written Annisa! As a former female athlete for Haslett and a coach of youth sports, I agree there is not nearly the respect for female athletes! I plan to share your article and make sure others in this fine community read it as well!! Nice work and good luck this season!

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Stand up for girls sports